LOCKSMITH Stuyvesant High School Key Club
Special Welcome Issue
Volume IV, Issue II
Dear Key Clubbers, Welcome back to school! If you are a returning member, welcome to another fun year of awesome service! We’re really excited to start the year and hit the ground running (or cheering people running at races). If you’re a new member, you hold in your hands the first issue of The Locksmith, the official newsletter of Stuyvesant High School Key Club! This issue highlights all the great volunteer events we have done this summer, such as tutoring kids in Flushing, walking to raise money for senior centers in Chinatown, and docking boats at the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. Key Club is, in four words, a community service club, but it’s more than just another club. There are many community service clubs in this school dedicated to many great causes. You might have heard of clubs like Free Hugs Club, Building with Books, and StuyServe, but there are so many things that are different about Key Club. Founded in 1990, we are the oldest and largest community service club in Stuy. We are made up of over 350 enthusiastic members and many of us go to different events around the city at least once every week. In the past, we’ve cleaned up parks, cheered at different walks, raised money for various causes, planted trees, tutored kids, and even went bowling. Our most dedicated members will tell you about all the fun they had and all the friends they have made from helping others. And it all goes beyond the college credit and the certificate. Key Club is a really great experience. So many of our members have gone on to do great things for their communities. You might even have friends in other schools who are in their Key Clubs. I really love this club and I hope you will feel the same. I’ve learned so much about the different people we’ve helped and met really amazing people, inside and outside the club. It’s all about the friends, the fun, the feeling of being appreciated and connected, and the fact that you can go home at the end of the day knowing that your help can turn a barren wasteland into a forest of trees or an empty room into a library. Aside from the $12 dues that help fund the club, the experience is priceless. And just for kicks, some people who were in Key Club include Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Elvis Presley. So get ready for the best year of volunteering ever! Let’s be part of the revolution that is change! Your president, but most importantly, fellow member,
Gavin Huang P.S. Special thanks to Jensen Cheong, Jenny Chan, Jennifer Kuo, Locksmith Committee heads Bryan Nguyen and Bette Ha, our editor Victor Ma, and the nice individuals at Staples for making this issue possible.
LOCKSMITH Stuyvesant High School Key Club
A Different K ind of Sen io rs Every morning, 83-year-old Wong YuetHing eagerly waits for the Chinatown Senior Center to open its doors. It’s Monday, the day she will be dancing for other seniors in the center’s orchestra room. When lunch time approaches, she dons her apron and helps serve her friends in the kitchen. In the afternoon, she takes English classes and chats with her friends until closing time at 6 p.m. She leaves the center with her 90-year-old neighbor and walks her home, her last duties of the day. “I love the center and I’m happy here,” Wong said. “There is so much I can do and help with. I am the luckiest woman on Earth.” The Chinatown Senior Center, which serves over 500 seniors between the ages of 60 and 90 every day, provides a haven for those who would otherwise be spending their time at home alone. Seniors can showcase their musical and artistic talents in the orchestra room, take lessons on tai-chi, singing, and English, and play table games like mahjong and Chinese chess. “Many of the people who come to America are from rural farms and can’t get jobs here,” said 86-year-old Lo Wun-Lam, who travels 30 minutes from Brooklyn every day to volunteer at the center. “Some can’t even write their own
Special Welcome Issue
Volume IV, Issue II
by Gavin Huang
names. This center is a second home.” The Chinatown Senior Center and two other centers run by the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) are feeling the repercussions of citywide budget cuts this year. The city is threatening a three-percent cut and a standardization of programs such as Meals on Wheels, a problem for the Chinese elderly who prefer the local flavor. “We’ve had to cut a lot,” Chinatown Senior Center Director Jenny Tran said. “We have to cut supplies and trips because the buses are expensive and we have less supplies and telephones in the office.” In response to these cuts, CPC dedicated its biennial walkathon held on Saturday, July 26, to the seniors. The event, which started in 1998 to raise money for CPC’s various social services, set a goal of $200,000 to improve these already packed second homes. “The entire organization was working on this for a month,” CPC Event Coordinator Mabel Long said. “They outreached, put up posters, did tabling, and went to different communities and organizations. We had three press conferences to promote this and NASDAQ invited us to their closing ceremony.” The walkathon this year began at Columbus Park in Chinatown. After a program of cultural performances by the seniors and speeches from city and state officials, the walk made its way across the Brooklyn Bridge. After a rally at Cadman Plaza, the walkers then returned to Columbus Park for a family fair with booths from over 50 sponsors and health organizations. “We’re not just here to raise money,” said CPC Executive Director David Chen in the opening ceremony.
Continued on page 3.
A Different Kind 2-3 of Seniors A Normal Key Club Day
Kumon Tutoring 6-7 Chinatown Beautification Day
Frequently Asked 9Questions 10
Special points of interest:
A word from our President.
Committee information on page 7!
FAQs on pages 9 and 10.
S t u y v e s a n t H i g h Sc h o o l Key Club A Different (and Nicer) Kind of Seniors “We’re here to promote important values and mobilize the community to support these values.” Participants ranged between the ages of eight and 80. A large number of teens joined as walkers or volunteers, including groups from Stuyvesant High School and Brooklyn Technical High School. In a community of immigrants, the seniors serve as links to tradition and the past. “They’re the older generation,” said CPC volunteer Kelvin Tam, 16. “We learn from them.” Addressing the youth walkers, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz added, “I want you all to know that someday, you will be our age.” The money raised will be used to cover the cuts, improve services and help fund an expansion project for the Nan Shan Senior Center, the only center serving Chinese immigrants in Queens. The $10 million project, which began in June, hopes to construct a new 10-story building that will solve the space problem plaguing the two-story center since its opening in 1988. Flushing Councilman John C. Liu, grand marshal of the walkathon, helped CPC gain $2.6 million from the city.
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Also available on www.stuykc.org!
“I’ve always been a supporter of CPC,” Liu said. “It’s my job to do what I can to provide services and help for the organization.” CPC raised $118,000 from over 2,000 walkers. They also collected donations from individuals and online donors until Friday, August 8. “We surpassed a lot of milestones this year,” said CPC Director of Operations Steve Yip. “It will be up to the Board of Directors to determine how much will go into things like the expansion project.” Although the budget cuts motivated the walkathon this year, the emphasis was placed on fostering unity among the community. Department for the Aging Commissioner Edwin Mendez-Santiago participated in the walk. “We’re not saying the city is bad,” said CPC Special Events Intern Jeremy Ruch. “The commissioner has been a huge supporter of our programs. This is something that everyone in the community will have to face.” “Many, if not all, the senior centers in the city do independent fundraising,” said Christopher Muller, Director of Public Affairs at the Department for the Aging. Still, the motivations of many walkers were personal ones. “Everyone has a grandma or grandpa to think about,” said CPC Special Events Intern Katherine Fung.
A N o r m a l Ke y C l u b D ay by Jennifer Kuo
WAKE UP! It’s 4:30 AM. No, you’re not waking up this early to go to school; you’re going to a Key Club event! Sound familiar? If you’re new, of course not, but you’ll get used to it eventually. It was a warm morning as I walked towards the Sheraton hotel, trying to find my way to the bus. Me being myself, I got lost. Fortunately, Jensen managed to find the rest of the Key Clubbers in front of a yellow school bus. When we all boarded the bus, it became chaotic. My Pikachu plushie was flying everywhere! After arriving at Flushing Meadows Park, everyone lined up to get a volunteer tag with weirdly optimistic phrases like “We live to make you smile” or, “Hi! I’m a volunteer!” The guys were called off to help carry stuff while the rest of us went to the Verizon tent to put up some stuff and get free goodies (flashlights, clappers, Frisbees, etc). After we finished, Brenda, Jacqueline, and I went to a food station to help out (and get FREE FOOD!). It was fun when we had to put tape tablecloths to the table, avoid falling water, and run away from bugs. Who knew that there could be so many bugs in one place?
Don’t worry, you won’t have to get used to waking up that early.
The lady in charge told us to blow up balloons with helium and tie them together to make a giant arch. IT WAS TORTURE! We blew up balloon after balloon … and to top it off, we also had to manage the dumplings! We did, however, get a 20 minute break to eat and received a free snoopy doll! Then, it was time for more balloon work. The lady told some other people to help us but somehow, they disappeared. When the arch was finally finished, we didn’t want it to fly off. We refused to let the guys at the festival take it in case they “accidentally” let go so the three of us took it to the VIP tent and sat down to rest (we also promised the lady that we would be back). Brenda and Jacqueline were excited to get free T-shirts (one of the essentials of most events) and Jacqueline ran off to ask the lady for some. Brenda and I decided to watch the dragon boat race and see if we could see the team that Gavin, Victor, and Olivia were on, without luck. Jacqueline came back with Tshirts for us and then she saw the hats. Being as hyper as she was, she darted back to get us free hats. Guess what happened when we got the hats? VISORS! Her luck ran out because the lady didn’t have any more. Brenda and Jacqueline wanted to go around and get more free things to make up for the visors. The balloons weren’t left unguarded though (no way we would do that). Instead, we left it to Thomas and Keith. I’m not sure if we got anything but we didn’t want to be late for the dumpling eating contest so we went back to the VIP tent. As it turns out, we were actually early.
S t u y v e s a n t H i g h Sc h o o l Key Club
By the time we had to bring the arch up, we all wanted to get some food and just have fun. Our work wasn’t over though. We had to put 25 dumplings in each bowl for the contestants. Up next: kite flying! Keith and I never managed to get our kites high in the air so we decided to walk around a bit more. After waiting on line to get more free things (yes, there were a lot of free things), we saw Victoria! We decided to try flying the kites once more. Victoria said that it was her first time flying one, but she was awesome. When Bryan got back from the docks, things only got crazier. Jacqueline, Bryan, and I were all trying to put ice cubes down each other’s backs. I don’t know how Jensen got dragged into this but we all started chasing each other around. In the middle of all this craziness, Gavin was trying to get everything cleaned up and take a group photo. Amazingly, we managed to get everything done! Truthfully, it wasn’t really different from any other event: chaotic, and unpredictable, but fun. However, between all of the balloons, dumplings, and free things, this event was definitely one of craziest that I’ve ever been to. Although many people went home with a suntan (or sunburn), we all had a great time.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival 8/3/08
Ku m o n Tu t o r i n g by Flyingbluejensen
I can guarantee that almost half of you reading this have been to tutoring before. I know I have; otherwise, I’d be in my local high school now and be under the influence. Aside from that, we can all agree that tutoring is boring, but how about being the one tutoring little kids? That thought appealed to me and I decided to volunteer at Kumon for the summer. After all, I had nothing better to do and my parents wished I didn’t spend all my days at the park. The first thing I noticed about Kumon was that it was very small. I mean small! This was the Flushing Kumon center where I helped out once a week. Then I met Mr. Koo, the instructor of the place who has helpers scattered around tables to watch (and help) the students do their work. The tables and shelves containing worksheets were so wellorganized that I thought of hiring the guy to fix up my room. So I soon learned the Kumon process. There are different levels of math and reading. Math goes from Level 7A to X, where 7A to A is considered pre-k. Reading goes by the same scale but the highest level is K. Each level contains approximately 200 worksheets for the students to do. The idea was that a student cannot move on until they have mastered the previous level. In other words, a level is like a “building block”. If they haven’t mastered it or failed the level test, they redo part of the level. There is a certain amount of worksheets a student must do every day (except Sunday), depending on their skill. Faster students do 10 sheets a night while slower
students may only have to do two or three. One of our jobs was to grade their homework, which can get exhausting if a large number of students come at a time. If they made any mistakes, they were required to do it again until they got it right. We then recorded their homework score in a book so that Mrs. Koo could see if they need to re-do a level or if they could handle the next. Mr. Koo and Mrs. Koo are very nice individuals but they made sure everything went right and that no student distracted another student and that no instructor goofed off. Anything can trigger distraction in a Kumon center. The work, timing, and answers have to be very precise and accurate. The first time I met Mr. Koo, I thought of him as pretty strict and I hardly saw him smile. It was hard for me to tell if I was doing everything right or if I messed up somewhere. At Flushing Kumon though, I met a full-time instructor called Nicholas who helped keep my spirits up during my day at Kumon. At the Fresh Meadows center, the other place where I helped out once a week, the students there kept my spirits up. The students had so much energy and always wanted to tell the instructors something interesting that day. The last day I was there, the students at my table began a burping contest and for the rest of the day, every three minutes or so you would hear something strange. You get the idea. Luckily, the Koos paid no attention. Grading at Kumon is very strange. A check indicates an incorrect answer, while a page that is circled means that the page is correct. If there is one answer, we usually mark the page a 9, indicating “above 90%”. The percentage varies from worksheet to worksheet because three questions can be wrong on some sheets and still be a 9. That page must have more questions on it. I always wonder how I am doing. At other Key Club events, the coordinators would say how we did and if we had suggestions for them. I never talked to the Koos much. A simple “Hi” or “Bye” was all we said. Sometimes I could feel them watching me as if I didn’t do the right thing. As I said before, Mr. Koos face is very hard to read. I always assumed I was doing pretty well, as Gavin never IM’ed me with a complaint. Nor did the Koos ever pull me over to say something.
S t u y v e s a n t H i g h Sc h o o l Key Club
It was the last day. I was going to spend it volunteering at Kumon and I had no feelings leaving it. That day, there were fewer students than usual and we finished early. The Koos had us organize the shelves. It was what happened next that answered the question I had been wanting to ask for weeks. Mr. Koo called me over and I thought, “I screwed up”. It wasn’t that at all. He asked me if I would like to work there for the fall and he smiled. Being a Stuy student, I knew how busy I was and knew I didn’t have the time to volunteer there. So I turned down the offer but promised to come one last time on the 30th. I was pretty happy that day. I knew I had been doing the right thing all along. Since all the other volunteers at the two centers have been doing the same thing as me, I knew Key Club once again had not messed up a volunteering opportunity. Right before I left, Mr. Koo called out smiling, “Come back next year!” And I never thought I’d say this, but I just might go back.
Chinatown Beautification Day Sunday, August 17, 2008
Key Club FAQs
For New Members
What is Key Club? No. Key Club does not make keys. The Key in Key Club stands for Kiwanis Educates Youth. It is the biggest community service club in Stuyvesant High School (and in the world!). Our service ranges from cleaning the streets of Chinatown to raising money for the March of Dimes. However, we don’t want Key Club to just be another club to get service credit for college. We encourage members to go to events to bond with fellow Key Clubbers and, of course, help others. :) What are points? What are the requirements of Key Club? You get one point for every minute you volunteer at a Key Club event. You are expected to achieve 3000 points (50 hours of service) by the end of the year to get a certificate. Sound like a lot of work? Not really. There are so many ways you can contribute, such as writing articles and taking pictures for the Locksmith, fundraising by selling candy, signing our advocacy petitions, and decorating the Key Club bulletin board near the Stuy entrance. Who are the cabinet members? President Gavin Huang – firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President Victoria Tsang – email@example.com Secretary Kenny Yu – firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Adeline Yeo – email@example.com Editor Victor Ma – firstname.lastname@example.org You can use our email addresses for more immediate questions (or just to chat); otherwise, just email us at email@example.com. How do you join Key Club? To get emails about events from us, you have to go to www.groups.yahoo.com/group/stuykc and request an invitation. You must also pay dues to become an official member. How do you sign up for an event? Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the event name as the subject title or you can go to our website www.stuykc.org, log in, and sign up for events there. The email should include your name, ID number, and telephone number. For some events, registration forms are required. What are dues? How much do dues cost? Dues just help fund your high school chapter of Key Club, Key Club International, and your Key Club District. With the dues you pay, you get a shiny membership card (only new members get one) and our newsletter, The Locksmith. Best of all, you get to be a proud official member of Key Club. Dues cost $12. You get 60 extra points just for handing in your dues by October 24th. That’s one hour of service! What is a project captain? How do you become a project captain? A project captain of an event is responsible for taking attendance of the members attending an event. He or she must keep a record of when the person signed in and out of an event. At the end of an event, the project captain fills out a project report form to report the amount of hours completed. Project captains get an additional 25 points. If you are interested in becoming a project captain for an event, just email us at email@example.com with a * next to the event name in the subject. Remember to include your name, ID number, and phone number. What are the seven committees? The seven committees of Stuyvesant Key Club is another way to earn points and contribute to the club. Each committee is lead by two committee heads. We hold committee recruitments in November and April, but you can contact them at any time if you wish to join a committee.
Advocacy – The Advocacy Committee is responsible for writing letters to support an important cause they deem important and sending these letters to government officials and influential figures. These causes can range from ending human trafficking to protecting endangered animals. Committee Heads: Antara Afrin firstname.lastname@example.org & Rebecca Chowdhury email@example.com Art – The Art Committee is responsible for decorating the Key Club bulletin near the Stuyvesant entrance, compiling a scrapbook for they New York District Key Club convention, taking pictures of events for The Locksmith, and making posters for certain events. Committee Heads: Snigdha Das firstname.lastname@example.org & Brenda Nguyen email@example.com Fundraising – The Fundraising Committee is responsible for raising money for organizations, such as the March of Dimes and UNICEF. We do so mainly by selling candy. Other fundraising projects include selling teddy bears for the March of Dimes, and Glow-In-The-Dark fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Committee Heads: Shayra Kamal firstname.lastname@example.org & Amy Lin email@example.com Locksmith – The Locksmith Committee puts together The Locksmith, the official newsletter of Stuyvesant Key Club. Key Clubbers can contribute to the Locksmith Committee by submitting articles about an event they have attended or taking pictures of events. Committee Heads: Bette Ha firstname.lastname@example.org & Bryan Nguyen email@example.com New Projects – The New Projects Committee is responsible for finding new projects for Stuyvesant Key Club by contacting organizations. That ways, you guys don’t get bored doing the same events every year. Committee Heads: Amanda Cheng firstname.lastname@example.org & Helen Luo email@example.com Public Relations – Public Relations is the committee responsible for recruiting new members and informing Key Clubbers about Key Club meetings. They are the people that put up those cute Key Club signs with the beavers around the school. Committee Heads: Christine Ha firstname.lastname@example.org & Peiyu Lin email@example.com Web Committee – The Web Committee is in charge of the club’s website, www.stuykc.org. They are responsible for posting up member’s points on the website, posting up pictures of events, compile contact info of the cabinet and committee heads, as well as compile a list of our recent and upcoming events. Committee Heads: Jensen Cheong firstname.lastname@example.org & Chris Yeung email@example.com USACF Committee – The USACF committee works with the US-Africa Children’s Fellowship in fundraising and collecting donations for our sister school in Zimbabwe. The will collect donations from members and Stuyvesant and see that they’re sent to our sister school in Africa. Their work has a direct impact on hundreds of students in Zimbabwe. Committee Heads: Donna Koo firstname.lastname@example.org & Helen Song email@example.com What should parents know? Members cannot use Key Club (or any other volunteer work for that matter) as an excuse for skipping school or failing a class. Most of our events are after school or on weekends, though we do fundraise in school too. If you find that your kids are not doing well in school because of Key Club (though this is rarely so), talk to them about ways to balance school and Key Club but support them if they want to continue volunteering. Dedication and community service are important to building a model student. Events also take place in various parts of the city and sometimes early in the morning and late at night. We guarantee all members’ safety, but if you are uneasy about letting your kids go to a certain event, have them travel with a friend or a group.
And just for kicks, some people who were in Key Club include Bill Clinton, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, and Elvis Presley. Welcome back to school...